Today in South Africa, the modern Zulu people are free to choose almost every aspect of their lives. They choose their religion and where they live. In the past, the Zulu peoples’ lives were dominated by the South African policy of apartheid (the racist doctrine of “separate development”), which discriminated against black people in every area of life. A homeland, consisting of only a portion of the original Zululand, was set up for the Zulu in the 1970s and called KwaZulu. Today the province of KwaZulu Natal exists for people of all races.
Following the end of apartheid in the early 1990s, the Zulu have become a powerful political force. They have their own political party, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), led by Chief Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi.
|During and after the 1994 elections the IFP claimed that the African National Congress (ANC) didn’t represent their interests, and there were many violent clashes between these two parties. But, in the 1999 elections held in June, peace reigned over the country and the IFP gained the support of even more South Africans to form one of the leading opposition parties.|
As far as religion is concerned, Zulu people have the right to choose for themselves. Christianity is widespread among the Zulu and there are many independent churches with Zulu clergy, as well as Anglican, Catholic and Methodist Churches. Zionist Spirit churches that stress faith healing are also popular. During apartheid the churches often provided a place for people to air their complaints and this may, in part, explain the vibrancy of many churches. Christianity co-exists with the Zulu religion, which is still widely followed. The Zulu religion is mostly concerned with the reverence of ancestors, who are believed to directly influence their living descendants (see customs). Healing methods as practised by religious practitioners of the Zulu religion (diviners or isangomas (see traditional medicine)) also survive alongside modern clinics and hospitals. Many of these healers work within the official healthcare system at the local level. Some Zulu people are still superstitious when it comes to things like the supposedly fictional tokoloshe – a hairy creature created by a wizard to harm his enemies (also been known to rape women and bite off sleeping people’s toes).
The traditional land of the Zulu people, KwaZulu Natal, is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It has the sea, rolling green mountains and natural forests in valleys. It also has a booming economy, with sugar cane and timber as two of its chief crops. Tourism is very popular in the province as the lush province provides many holiday opportunities. There are many nature reserves and travellers interested in the Zulu culture will find a place where the Zulu tradition surrounds almost every aspect of existence. There are also many top class hotels and bed and breakfasts with many activities available such as horse riding, golfing, fishing, water sports and many more.